Can HOAs Impose Rules on Tenants Which Do Not Apply to Owners?

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‘Our HOA has sent my wife and I a notice about a new amendment to our CC&Rs which was passed in July 2011 and states that tenants are prohibited from having dogs in the units. Owners, however, are permitted to have dogs as long as they are below the HOA weight limits (which our dogs are). My landlord and I have a great relationship and my wife and I and both our dogs have lived here for nearly 3 years. I know I need to check the grandfather clause, but regardless of whether our dogs can be grandfathered in, can HOAs in California deny a privilege to a tenant that is not denied to owners, like this amendment is attempting to do?’

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Well, the question is, is there anything stopping the HOA from imposing rules on tenants that do not apply to owners? And the answer, at least in California, appears to be yes.

A quick internet search reveals that, in California, HOAs havelimited ability to restrict owners from having pets. At a minimum, they must allow an owner to have one pet, and may only impose “reasonable” restrictions. It also appears that pet ownership is one of the rights that is transferred from the owner to the tenant when a condo is rented.

My guess is that, in an effort to save money, the HOA did not consult with their attorney before enacting this regulation. Perhaps your landlord can gently suggest that they do so, because a consultation is nearly always less expensive than litigation. If the HOA attorney believes that this restriction is permissible, see if you can get them to cite the reason why so you can take that to your own attorney–again, to consult and hopefully avoid litigation.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.